5 Summer Staples for a lean kitchen

by Emily Drew Mash

Meal planning, food prep, bulk shopping help us stay on track with our eating plans. These items are my essentials. I cannot meal plan or prep without them. Also, I’ve listed some of my favorite ways to use them.

  1. Eggs

Whether you eat the yolks or not, eggs are an invaluable staple to have on hand at all times. We live on a farm with chickens, so we have fresh eggs daily. I cannot waste the yolks, so the ones we don’t eat, I cook them and feed to our dogs. Great for any meal or snack, they cook quickly on the stovetop or microwave. You can even bake eggs in the oven. (Place eggs still in shell in muffin pan and bake about 30 minutes at 350. The consistency is very similar to a hard-boiled egg.)

a.  Omelets: with crumbled ground turkey, peppers, tomatoes

b.  Casserole: with a meat crust and veggies Here’s my full recipe.

c.   Crepe: mix with protein powder and cook in skillet like a thin pancake. Fill with fruit, yogurt, or meat and cheese

d.  Pancakes: make super simple pancakes with just eggs and oats

2.  Ground turkey or beef.

If you follow any sort of eating plan, then you know how invaluable cooked protein is! This is one of my favorites to have. It is so versatile, delicious, and can be used so many ways.

a.   Meatza: Pat out a pound or two of ground meat in the bottom of a baking dish and bake until cooked through. Add your vegetable and cheese toppings (like pizza) and bake again until the cheese is melted.

b.  Anything Mexican: mix with salsa and top a salad, burrito bowl, fill a burrito or taco. I use these high fiber tortilla wraps.

3.  Protein powder

a.  Protein bars: so many recipes on the internet for good homemade protein bars. Here is a great recipe for lemon protein bars.

b.  Yogurt dip with fruit: Mix a scoop of (good tasting) protein powder with yogurt

c.  Peanut butter protein balls. These are SO delicious. Unless you are a hard gainer, not something you want to snack on all day long, but a couple is a great treat.

4.  Oats

Oatmeal is a great source of carbohydrates, some fiber, some fat and so versatile. I use it almost exclusively instead of flour for baking.

a.  Baking: Grind into oat flour and bake protein bars, pancakes, or muffins instead of using flour.

b.  Cookies: after grinding, mix with ripe bananas and bake like cookies. (Pictured)

c.  Baked oatmeal: mix oats, protein powder, milk, baking powder, pinch of salt, and sweetener (optional). Bake, then serve warm topped with milk. SO good!!

5.  Tomatoes

I always try to eat fruit and vegetables while they are in season. So, right now it’s summer tomato season. I do love a big juicy tomato sandwich, but here are some leaner ways to enjoy the season’s harvest.

a.  Marinated: chunk and mix with sliced cucumbers in vinegar for an easy summer salad

b.  Grilled: Skewer cherry tomatoes with a little oo or slice large tomatoes in half

c.  Marinara: oo, garlic, fresh tomatoes, basil…what could be better!

d.  Fresh summer salsa: add your favorite salsa ingredients and throw in a blender.

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